Study Finds Gene Mutations Sensitize Tumors to Specific Cancer Drugs

“Mutations in ARID1a, which are common in many cancer types, disrupt DNA damage repair in cancer cells, allowing the cancer to progress. This gene may also be an Achilles’ heel when treating certain tumors, according to a team of researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

“The study, published in Cancer Discovery, discovered that certain mutations in ARID1a (AT-rich interactive domain-containing protein 1a), a gene recently implicated in cancer progression, sensitize some tumors to PARP inhibitor drugs, such as olaparib, veliparib and BMN673, which block DNA damage repair pathways.

” ‘Our results showed, particularly in the ARID1a deficient cells, PARP inhibitors are more effective than in other cancer cells,’ says Guang Peng, M.D., Ph.D, assistant professor, Clinical Cancer Prevention, and senior author of the study. ‘Based on the mechanism we’ve discovered, we propose a new approach for targeting these mutant cancer cells.’ ”